Date of visit: 4 – 9 October 2013
Getting there: Qatar Airways (around 4 hours & 45 minutes from Doha to Male).
Hotel: Niyama Resort
It was my first time to experience flying on a seaplane and it was a perfect start for our trip. Viewing the mini islands and the many shades of blue from the top was a scene that will never disappear from my mind. It is a known fact that the further you go the bluer the sea becomes. And that explains the price difference between the hotels close to Male (reachable by boat) and the ones that you have to get to by seaplane.
Booking a seaplane ticket should be done ahead of time and not upon arrival. There is a seaplane ticket booth right outside Male airport where you get to pick up your tickets and take a bus to your hotel lounge where you’ll find your seaplane parked! Seaplanes are shared and they don’t fly at night. Sometimes you pick/drop passengers from/to other islands on your way to your hotel.
This is the lounge of Niyama Resort:
While the seaplane was landing we spotted a bunch of people waiting for our arrival. They turned out to be the management of the resort (including the GM). It’s a part of their job to welcome the guests who arrive by seaplane on certain hours of the day. They welcomed us warmly and served us delicious, delicious, delicious watermelon juice!
This is the spot where the seaplane lands and takes off:
It was very hard to decide whether to go for an ocean villa or a beach villa. Ocean villas are more expensive and more Maldivian but Beach Villas are more private (which is more suitable for ladies who wear Hijab) and include spacious outdoor sitting area. Since we were a group of 5 girls, we went for both options and it was the right thing to do. I personally preferred the Beach Villa and I would definitely choose that option if i go again.
The Ocean Villas were located on a different side of the island and included a private infinity pool. Using the steps on the side of the pool you can go down to the sea for a dip. The water was very shallow but clean, crystal blue and a bit cold.
The Beach Villas were totally different. The mini cottages were lined up on the beach side between all the tropical trees and getting to them was an experience of its own. I really enjoyed the jungle walk and avoided using buggies during the day. My favourite part was the outdoor bathroom. It was absolutely beautiful and showering in the open air was very refreshing. The only problem was the lizards visits at night (bathroom and not room) which was very annoying. The double bed was placed in the center of the room, which was different and nice, and a a sofa was turned into an extra bed. I fell in love with the outside area. There was a private pool, a swinging sofa, a dining table, tanning chairs, and a beautiful beach. The resort provided some free snacks (ice creams, popcorn, etc) on daily basis and there was a great selection of movies to watch also for free.
This is the bathroom:
Outside the room:
There were several restaurants in the resort and each was special and different. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food was delicious in all restaurants.
1) Edge: A seafood restaurant which was 10 minutes far by boat. The outdoor area by the sea was quiet and serene. It was windy and a bit cold, but we enjoyed our very unique seafood dishes. It started raining and we moved to the indoor area where a singer was singing her own version of some popular songs with a guitarist.
The name of the restaurant says it all. You feel like you’re a guest on an island and some tribe is inviting you for dinner. In an outdoor dining setting, you hear drums in the background and enjoy the taste of the delicious grills. It was a different dining experience.
Beautiful pool/beach view to start the day with. The breakfast buffet had a large selection of dishes and once again, the juices were my favoutire. Theme nights were also held in this restaurant.
A very chilled rooftop lounge. We played Scrabble under the stars while sipping tea and singing along with the same singer and guitarist from Echo.
I actually loved the concept of this cafe. A perfect place for a quick snack and a nice reminder of our ordinary life away from this island. You can choose your sandwich from a menu written on a choke board or you can create your own sandwich. They serve ice-creams, crisps and other treats.
Other activities & facilities:
Public Beach: It was as quiet as our villa beach but it was nice to hang out there for a change and to order juice while viewing the blue water and the blue sky. The temperature of the water was perfect for swimming but the ground was uneven and so it was difficult to stand and walk to the shore. The sea was perfect for chilling, but i enjoyed swimming in Thailand and Greece more.
Public Pool: A long infinity pool which was perfect for dipping, chilling and also swimming. There was a step by the end of the deep side of the pool which i loved to sit on and read.
Snorkeling & other water activities: In an attempt to explore the Indian Ocean, we chose snorkeling out of all the water activities that were offered at the resort. After a 20 minutes boat ride, we jumped into the ocean wearing our snorkeling gear. It was a bit windy and so the water was not very clear. We swam around an island following our guide to view the corals but we barely saw anything. It was disappointing and it didn’t beat the beautiful view of the corals of the Red Sea in Sharm El Shaikh.
Theme nights: We were lucky enough to attend a Maldivian theme night which was organized by the pool. The area was crowded with hotel residents, which was a good change. A large buffet was set by the beach and we got to try the Maldivian cuisine which contained a lot of tuna. There was a raw fish stand where you get to choose your fish and they grill it for you the way you like it.
Gym and classes: I used to alternate my morning workout (before breakfast) between a walk by the beach and using the gym. I loved the view at the gym and it was a lovely experience to use the treadmill or the free runner while viewing tropical trees and blue water. The gym also offered some classes for free on daily basis but we went for a private yoga class by the beach which was one of the main highlights of the trip.
Games room: The perfect thing to do when it rains. There were a billiard table, darts, chess, cards and board games.
Spa: What could be more relaxing than listening to the sound of the waves hitting the shore while having a massage? This experience redefined the word serenity for me. It was extremely relaxing that i fell asleep while having my massage. Before starting, the masseuse gave me a music menu to select from. I chose classical music which complimented the sound of the sea that was right under the massage room!
The details around the place added an extra taste of perfection on our holiday. Examples are the beautiful trash baskets, a creative and fancy way to wash your feet before using the pool, and the lovely room service bike!
A lot of people are under the impression that Maldives is only suitable for couples which is totally wrong. It is a great option for group of friends and families. It is a great beach destination and the best holiday option if you’re looking for a quiet break away from the city. Some people told us that “5 nights is too long for Maldives and you’ll definitely get bored”. It turned out to be the total opposite. We didn’t mind extending our stay and we didn’t get bored for one second. It is an extremely expensive destination but it’s worth saving up for. Your eyes can never get enough of all the shades of blue around you. Maldives is a piece oh heaven!